Fearing the evil eye

EVIL eye, a malevolent look that many cultures believe able to cause injury.

Fearing the evil eye



EVIL eye, a malevolent look that many cultures believe able to cause injury or misfortune for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike, is a reality for countless people and they fear and try to avoid it.

In many cases, people become obsessed with the possibility that misfortune may befall them or those they are close to due to the evil eye. Parents are known to be particularly cautious who their children are around because of the fear that they may be hit by an evil eye.

Muhammad Abdulsalam, an Egyptian expatriate, never paid much attention to the evil eye. This changed, however, when Abdulsalam went out for dinner with a colleague, a man he claims gave him the evil eye when he commented on his large appetite, the Makkah daily reported.

“It was after that I began believing that there’s something called an evil eye, which is power attributed to certain people who can inflict injury or bring bad luck by an envious or ill-wishing look,” Abdulsalam said.

“I noticed that my colleague was staring at me in a strange way while we were eating. On my asking him about the reason for the look, he replied:  ‘You are like a wild animal. Double the quantity of this food and it will not affect you.’ I did not eat after that. In the morning, I got a severe stomach ache. On visiting the hospital, the emergency room doctor decided that I needed to undergo urgent surgery because my appendix was about to explode,” he said.

“Several colleagues told me about similar incidents they encountered following comments by the same person. So they hide any good thing they have from him. In my case, I started believing in the evil eye because I experienced it myself,” he said while quoting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as saying the evil eye exists and may even result in the death of the victim.

“Because of that incident and the hadith on the evil eye, I make sure to recite verses of the Holy Qur’an frequently,” he added.

Sarah, 20, believes she was struck by an evil eye more than four years ago when she attended a family event and was given the evil eye by a woman she knows. That incident allegedly caused the once brilliant student to become aloof and forgetful.

Parents are known to be protective of their children but in the case of the evil eye, that natural protective instinct can lead parents to take what many would consider to be extreme measures.

Huda, a mother, said she does not allow anyone to photograph her children or publish their pictures on social media websites such as Facebook due to her fear that an evil eye may be cast on them.

“The thought that pictures of my children are being circulated online causes anxiety. I don’t even allow my closest relatives to photograph my children,” she said.

Samh Saeed Abdulrahman only allows his wife to take pictures of their son’s hands or clothes, but never his face, because he fears he may be hit by the evil eye.

“I noticed after publishing my son’s pictures online, he fell sick more often. This led to me deleting all pictures of my children from the Internet,” he said.

Hissah Al-Mazyad treats ailments such as the evil eye by reciting verses of the Holy Qur’an (Al-Ruqyah Al-Shar’iyah).

He believes superstition has spread these days due to people’s weak belief to the extent that mothers do not want their sons to excel in school for fear that they will be stricken by the evil eye.

“There are two types of fear. The first is real fear, like when a person is actually affected by poverty or disease. This is something that they are actually suffering from. The other kind is imaginary fear as Satan creates fear in peoples’ hearts, like the fear of falling sick or an unjustified paranoia about the safety of one’s children,” he said.

Consultant psychiatrist Da’ad Al-Mardini believes the problem lies in the lack of deep thinking, especially after the spread of social networking websites.

“Saudi society’s belief is stronger in messages they receive on the evil eye without verifying the truth of the message. I have patients in my clinic who avoid their relatives because they are convinced they will give them the evil eye. A person’s obsession with an idea can result in mental illness. Sadly, many members of society have become susceptible to such beliefs. They forget that Allah Almighty is the best protector.” — SG